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Gold Conversationalist

Re: Do you recall getting that first “real” job?

Message 21 of 28

My first real job where I received a paycheck with my name on it was at a public library. I had started there when I was in high school working 20 hours a week after school. I reshelved the children's library books and made sure the shelves were in dewey decimal order so patrons could easily find a book. I worked in our school library doing the same job as a volunteer and the librarian there helped me get the public library job. I was paid once a month and it was minimun wages which paid better than any babysitting job. I loved working there because books were my first love! Books were full of adventure and knowledge so I could learn or travel anywhere. I still am fond of libraries and have worked in both public and academic libraries in my work careers.

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Re: Do you recall getting that first “real” job?

Message 22 of 28

Yes, I do recall--it was a long time ago.  It was in my sophmore year at Cathedral High School, Boston MA.  It's 1955.  I took 2 years of business and 2 years of college courses.  A local company, the Formaid Bra Company had sent over to the school a notice looking for someone to work in the payroll department after school.  Being in the business course at the time and bookkeeping being one of the subjects, I wanted the job so raised my hand and was hired.  This began my career in payroll, quarterly payroll taxes and accounting.  After graduation, I then went on to a full time job with a Boston costume jewelry company doing the same type of work.  I never went to college but received an exceptional high school education at Cathedral and learned so much working with accountants. My skills over the years grew to include Trial Balance, Profit and Loss statements, writing Journal entries and computerizing manual accounting systems to an automated one with all applications interfacing and so much more.  In today's world, the culture of the school has changed but the education has not.  Those who graduate from Cathedral, still get an exceptional education and all go on to college.    

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Re: Do you recall getting that first “real” job?

Message 23 of 28

My first real job was with the International Red Cross in Yokohama, Japan.  Do not recall the exact date but it was about mid-September, 1945. The war had just ended and the Occupation Forces were settling in to all available buildings that were not destroyed by bombs. 

I was 19 years old, scared and mal-nourished from the war years, but full of hope for the future.  I spoke three languages and was proficient on the typewriter and shorthand.  My duties were to attend to relief work for long lines of refugees and secretary to the acting director, transcribing death listings of the Prisoners of War,  typing censored letters of war criminals to their relatives -- hardly topics for a 19 year old girl, but that's war. 

I was shocked and dismayed upon my first day, when another employee in showing me the refugee supplies took me to a large warehouse next door that was filled from floor to ceiling with "care" boxes intended for the POW's that were never distributed.  Most of them were split and rotting cans and boxes.  The stench was overwhelming.  My job was to sort through and select undamaged goods to give to the refugees, plus go to another floor where donated clothing was stacked and try to find suitable wear for the children and adults. 

I performed these tasks for about four months until a new Director arrived who wanted me to commute to Tokyo every day.  It was too dangerous for me as there were no street lights and about a three mile walk to the rail station coming home in total darkness. 

So I handed in my resignation and accepted a job at Eighth Army Headquarters, working for one of the departments as secretary to a general who was so ill with malaria he was unable to write.  I worked for the Eighth Army for the next nine or ten months until my immigration papers were approved, whereupon I left Japan to join relatives in the United States.   

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Re: Do you recall getting that first “real” job?

Message 24 of 28
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Re: Do you recall getting that first “real” job?

Message 25 of 28

My first real job was also my only real job.  I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a teacher.  I got a partial scholarship to a prestigious teacher-training college and graduated in three years.  During the summer I graduated I interviewed all over the Chicago suburban area.  I even worked a summer job at my college so I would be closer to the placement office.  I was actually hired on my 21st birthday.  I would remain in this district for 34 years teaching several different grade levels.  I am now retired and have lots of wonderful memories of my years in the classroom.

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Re: Do you recall getting that first “real” job?

Message 26 of 28
My first real job was in a shoe factory when I was sixteen. That was in 1951. My husband and I both worked there and it felt really good to be earning "real wages!"
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Valued Social Butterfly

Re: Do you recall getting that first “real” job?

Message 27 of 28

First Job, First Love and more


In thinking of what to write about my first job, I began thinking of my first love and realized that we never know where it will lead when we meet a person, and it can be what we least expect.


In the spring of my senior year in high school I was fixed up with a blind date by a girl friend and a boy she was dating. Lewis and I hit it off immediately. He was cute and smart and lots of fun. He went to a different high school than my own and we planned to attend different universities in the fall, but at the time that didn’t matter. Neither of us were thinking past prom and graduation.


This had changed by the time I left for college. We were going steady and totally in love. I was not allowed by the college to come home for the first 6 weeks, but he came there. He also tutored me in my math course and helped me be one of four students to pass that course, but that’s another story. But one way or another we managed to get together almost every weekend which gave my parents something else to complain about since they had encouraged me to attend a college in town instead.


Come that summer between my freshman and sophomore year I knew I had a decision to make and I finally decided to drop out and get a job. I really didn’t foresee a problem but learned quickly that a few weeks working at Woolworths during high school, working in my father’s office and an 8-weeks course in typing and speedwriting during the summer between high school graduation and going off to college did not make an impressive resume.


I had become pretty discouraged when my boy friend’s mother called me. His father had worked for Southern Bell before his death a few years earlier and she worked for their credit union. She told me to call them and gave me the name of someone to see. I was hired as a file clerk in the Engineering Department. I was one of five females in a department of 34 males. I made $53.00 a week which was $3.00 more than the starting salary. I was given credit for my year in college.


I learned a lot in the eighteen months of working there. I became known as “Patty” instead of “Trisha” which my family and close friends had called me. This came from the fact that there was a stripper by the name of Patty who worked down the street and all the men visited that bar on Friday after work. I was also able to buy my first car while working there and become heartbroken at the end of my first real love. But that’s another story too.


So I decided to return to school, only this time in town and to pay for it myself so as not to have to hear parents complain. For the next few years I held down several part time jobs. I had some interesting jobs and some really boring ones, but during my senior year I saw a job listed with the business office at the hospital two blocks from the college. I thought this would be much more convenient in that I could walk between classes as they said the schedule could be worked out with class schedules.


I was surprised when I went to apply that instead of being sent to the business office I was sent to Purchasing and I spoke to a very nice woman who told me about the small department and filled me in on what my duties would be. I also learned they wanted someone full time but would work with me as to my hours so I could take evening classes. I had a call a few minutes after I returned home that afternoon offering me the job.


As it turned out, I had not known the woman who interviewed me, but she had known me. She was the best friend of my ex-boy friend’s mother. She knew that his mother had liked me and had been sorry when we broke up. She explained this after I had been working there for about a year.


Since then I’ve had other times when paths have crossed in unforeseen ways, but at the time I thought it odd but little else. Now I truly believe that people cross our path for a reason. We might not know why they are there and perhaps we will never know. I think we are lucky when we know the results and I’m glad that his mother knew how it worked out. I actually got that position upon her retirement several years later.


Lewis and I also crossed paths later when we were both getting divorces and using the same attorney. He saw my name on the attorney’s calendar and we had dinner together. I was glad we had broken up because I saw what a jerk he had become, but I was grateful his mother had been a part of my life.

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Recognized Social Butterfly

Do you recall getting that first “real” job?

Message 28 of 28

Neither of my parents, nor my grandparents had gone to college. My mother’s dream was that her daughters should have a profession—a way to support themselves. It was a way she had of fulfilling her own dream of having a higher education. She was the valedictorian of her high school class, excelling in Latin, Chemistry and English. Clearly she was an intelligent woman but there was no money for furthering her education. My sisters and I grew up with the knowledge that we would attend college. My parents were not well off financially, but my mother made up for this with determination. Somehow we would go to college and she would live out her dream through her daughters.

During the 3 1/2 years I was in college I concentrated on my studies and assumed that a job would be waiting for me when I graduated. It would be “magic” having that diploma in my hands. I finished college a semester early, at the end of December, due to attending summer school and taking a large class load. My actual graduation ceremony wasn’t until May. So I went home to await that job.

I have to admit, I didn’t have a clue about how to get a job. We lived in rural north Louisiana, a farming area where jobs were not plentiful for someone who had a degree in Advertising Art. My family tried to help—getting me jobs painting small commercial signboards or doing posters for local events. The minister of our church knew someone in advertising in a nearby city and said he might be able to help me. This man put me in touch with someone who had just started his own advertising agency. I did freelance work for him for a few months—until his checks began to bounce. Obviously his business wasn’t flourishing.

I remember making a bus trip to Houston, Texas and interviewing at the Advertising Department for one of the large department stores. I was picked up at the bus station by a distant relative and stayed at her home. She drove me to my interview. The woman interviewing me was nice but it was clear that I didn’t have the flair she was looking for. The ability to do fashion illustrations was a very specific talent and (as I recall) she did not like the way I drew hands. The next day I rode the bus back home.

My break came at my college graduation ceremony, where I again saw one of my major professors. He asked if I had found a job and when I told him that I had not, he said that there was a vacancy in the Advertising Department of a local utility company. This wasn’t exactly what I’d had in mind but I needed that first job so I applied. A few days later I was called in for an interview and told that I had the job.

I worked there for three years and had a steady pay check, my own apartment, and work that was reasonably interesting. I did ads, annual reports and the company newsletters. This first “real” job gave me the experience of working in a company, of dealing with deadlines; learning the technical aspects of printing. It gave me that boost I needed to enter the profession of my choice—Graphic Design. I stayed there three years before moving into a position at an Advertising Agency in a larger city.



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